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As Matthew Beck has properly taught you so far, knowledge of ADP is paramount when it comes to being successful in your snake drafts. You see where players tend to come off the board and you learn when it’s either too early to grab someone or when they have fallen far enough in your draft that you couldn’t possibly pass them up strictly from a value standpoint. Well, we’re going to take it a step further here and take a look at some of the ADP trends we’ve seen develop over the last month so you have a better read on the market fluctuation.
Drafting closers can always be a tricky proposition. Your first order of business is to survey you league and determine exactly who values closers and who doesn’t. Those who value them will likely make an early move on the elites while those who don’t tend to wait until the inevitable closer-run hits and then make more of a reactionary move. With that information, you can figure out when it’s best for you to strike.
Some people will tell you not to be the first one to take a closer, but that’s just ridiculous, because each league is different and while ADP is a helpful guideline, it is not the gospel. You can’t be too rigid in your thinking. Drafting in snake drafts requires fluid thinking and an ability to roll with the punches. If you like closers and Craig Kimbrel falls to the sixth round because no one else is biting, then hell yeah, you want to take him. I’ve seen him go in the fourth and fifth round of most drafts, 12 or 15-team, so a sixth round selection is easy pick’ns for me. You bet your ass I’m jumping on that value. However, should some nimrod in your league grab Kimbrel in the second or third round, well you’re going to want to pump the brakes a little unless that sparks a major run where more closers come flying off the board. Chances are, that’s not happening, but you have to always be prepared in case it does.
Studying the ADP gives you an excellent sense of how things are falling into place. Closers usually come off the board in waves, so identifying where those runs take place and just how the tiers of the position are divided is important. But just looking at the ADP ranks one day isn’t enough. It’s a volatile market and thinks are changing on a regular basis. In some cases it’s the actual personnel that changes as one player is named the closer over another, but in most instances, it is the ADP of certain players which fluctuates as some become more popular and others tend to drop. That is why we look at ADP trend reports. They become great identifiers as to the movement at the position and if there are some hidden gems still out there, tracking their rising ADP will tell you just how fast (or how slow) you have to act to obtain their services.
Here’s the most recent look at closers ADP and how things have changed over the course of the last month. We’ll note where the runs seem to be developing and from there, we’ll look at some of the risers and how that should affect your mindset come draft day.
Closer ADP Trends
The tiers for drafting are pretty self-explanatory just by going with the breaks in ADP, but to make it easy on you, I've color-coordinated everything for easy reference.
Nate Jones, CHW (+35.75%) – He was already a hot sleeper walking into the spring, but now that Matt Lindstrom is sidelined indefinitely with an oblique injury, nothing should be standing in Jones’ way from taking the closer’s role and running away with it. He’s a strong ground ball pitcher who posts excellent strikeout totals as well. With the job in-hand, his ADP is on the rise like a rocket. He’s gone from a final round afterthought to a 16th or 17th round closing option. With a few more weeks of strong performance in the Cactus League, his ADP could shoot up even higher.
Tommy Hunter, BAL (+33.53%) – Hunter’s stock is on the rise as well as he still seems to be the top choice for closing out games despite his struggles with the long ball this spring. He’s allowed three hits over three innings but two of those have gone over the fence. There are still concerns given his splits against left-handed batters, but he still seems to be Buck Showalter’s choice for the ninth. Stay tuned though as that could very easily change and if it does, his ADP will head back south.
John Axford (+25.13%) – With little debate left as to who will be closing in Cleveland, Axford gets a boost in his ADP value while his counterpart, Cody Allen falls back to the land of middle relievers. We all know Axford’s issues and have seen him earn, lose and reclaim a job all in the same season, so it’s not much of a surprise that he is gaining in popularity. It’s doubtful that he moves into the next tier of closers, so his ADP probably won’t climb much higher than it is right now.
Jose Veras, CHC (+20.62%) – Similarly to Axford, Veras has also won, lost and regained the closer’s job all in the same season. His handcuff, Pedro Strop, like Allen, also has great stuff, but management seems to think Veras is the one to go with in the ninth. His ADP will likely stay right about where it is now though as he always remains a strong candidate to be traded and turned back into a middle reliever, just as what happened last year when he was dealt by Houston to Detroit.
Grant Balfour, TB (+15.38%) – Not that seeing Balfour gain in popularity is without it’s reasoning, but a recent shellacking at the hand of the Pirates coupled with a report that he is experiencing some “dead arm” is not exactly what you want to hear from your ninth-inning specialist. Balfour says it’s typical, but obviously there is serious concern considering the fact that his deal with Baltimore was cancelled because the doctors didn’t like what they saw in his arm/shoulder exam. Wait this one out before committing to him and should his ADP continue to somehow climb, maybe think about a different option.
While it’s important to know who, if anyone is trending downwards, you’ll notice that the largest drop percentage-wise belongs to Kimbrel. However, that drop only amounts to two or three picks, so it’s not really considered much of a trend. Both Rex Brothers and Casey Janssen have seen slight drops – Janssen because of the presence of Sergio Santos maybe and Brothers because LaTroy Hawkins has the job until further notice – but neither has fallen below their tier nor has either of them lost much ground in the ADP ranks even within their tiers.
Basically, it looks like the majority of closers are staying where they are and those who are seeing an ADP increase are the ones who were question marks walking into the spring and are just settling into their respective tiers. Some, like Veras, will remain on the low-end side while others such as Nate Jones start to rise towards where their true draft value should be. For now, they should be considered bargains, but if their ADP shoots up higher, they could lose out on a decent return value by year end.
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